WITH JUST 16 days to go before Ireland's crucial Euro 2012 qualifier at home to Macedonia, Keiren Westwood is still a major concern for Giovanni Trapattoni.
And the Ireland manager is praying that Westwood is fit enough to line out for Coventry City against Hull this weekend after the keeper missed his club's midweek game. Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne, Stephen Hunt and Liam Lawrence are all injury concerns for Trapattoni ahead of the March 26 qualifier, but the goalkeeping position is his main worry as Shay Given is definitely out with a shoulder injury.
Coventry man Westwood was next in line to play as the former Manchester City player has been Given's Irish understudy for two years, but he suffered a hip injury during Coventry's defeat to Bristol City last weekend and was substituted during the game.
Westwood was not fit enough to play against Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night and Trapattoni can only hope that Westwood can line out against Hull on Saturday.
“Keiren was close to playing against Doncaster but it was one of those situations where he could have done more damage and ended up missing six or seven games,” said Coventry boss Aidy Boothroyd.
“As much as we wanted him to play, I decided that the best thing would be to give him more time to make sure he is fully fit when he does return.”
With Joe Murphy (Scunthorpe United) also sidelined due to injury at the moment, Trapattoni will have to offer a recall to QPR man Paddy Kenny or else call up David Forde (Millwall) or Colin Doyle (Birmingham).
Meanwhile, Keith Andrews' adviser has insisted that the Ireland international will not be driven out of Ewood Park by Blackburn fans.
A section of the Rovers support have targeted Andrews for abuse at various stages of his time at the club and they turned on the Dubliner again last month following his return from injury.
There was even a claim in a British newspaper that Blackburn boss Steve Kean had decided not to play Andrews in home games to spare him the abuse of supporters.
That prompted speculation that Rovers would offload Andrews on loan, but the player's agent says that Andrews will see out his contract at Ewood Park.
“Keith loves the club. He has a contract for two more years at the club and he wants to stay. Keith is not looking to go anywhere,” said Andrews' agent, Will Salthouse.
“There has been interest from other clubs but Keith has not even spoken to them.
“The club have said they want him to stay and I can dismiss the rumours that he will be leaving.”